Ecuador is known for being home to more than 1600 bird species within its diverse habitats such as tropical dry forests, rainforest, mangroves, beaches, cloud forests, islands, steep mountains and wetlands, to name some. Because of its relatively small size, Ecuador regroups an impressive amount of bird species in almost every region, and sites offering bird watching are easily accessible everywhere in the country, from the Coast to the Amazon. There are enough different vegetation zones to visit that even when enthusiastic bird watchers only recover a couple of them, they still enjoy the beautiful variety of bird species concentrated in one place. Each of those regions provides an ideal environment for the preservation and growth of endemic species.
The renowned Galapagos Islands are home to the famous cormorants and Galapagos penguins amongst the abundant bird community that populate these volcanic landscapes. No less than 38 bird species are endemic to those islands. Blue footed boobies, albatrosses, frigates, tropical birds and many other species are a delight for every passionate bird watcher.
The Coast itself holds about 700 different endemic and migratory species, mostly seen in the Machalilla National Park, as well as the Churute National Reserve. The Isla de la Plata has been compared to the Galapagos Islands for its similar biodiversity and the bird species found and living on the island.
In the northern Andes, close to Quito, the misty cloud forest is populated by more than 500 bird species, like the toucan, cock of the rock and hummingbirds to name a few. In other higher altitudes in the Andes, the biggest and smallest birds on the planet have made their homes: they are the endangered condor and the Ecuadorian Hillstar.
The Amazon is another paradise for passionate travelers looking for great bird watching opportunities, and their journey might be rewarded by the observation of as much as 500 species in less than a week.
Chances to see rare and unique species are greater if you plan to go trekking or even camping in remote places, not as comfortable but home to a wider variety of birds. It is recommended to be accompanied by a local guide who could not only help you recognize every type of bird found on the way, but who also knows areas where certain species can be found, allowing you to get a closer look at unique birds and return from your journey with memorable pictures.